In just four games, Boston College field hockey has strung together an impressive 11 goals and remains undefeated, a stark contrast to the fall of 2020 which featured just one game before a devastating slate of postponements.
With the chance to be back on the field this fall, BC has taken no time to continue its championship-level play that the Eagles became known for in 2019. In last weekend’s ACC/Big Ten Cup, the No. 7 Eagles (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) continued their hot streak, first taking down No. 9 Maryland 3–2 before coming from behind to beat No. 4 Northwestern 2–1. Here are three takeaways from BC’s big, top-10 weekend.
“Super Seniors” Provide Leadership Core
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA granted all athletes an extra year of eligibility. In BC’s case, the added year marked the return of Elizabeth Warner, Jaime Natale, and Fusine Govaert, a trio whose field presence is critical for the Eagles. Warner and Natale combined for 13 goals last year, and, along with Margo Carlin, made up BC’s most potent offensive line. Govaert’s role in the midfield cannot be understated, as her ability to contribute at both ends of the field and her composed, purposeful style of play are invaluable to the Eagles. In addition to their talents on the field, Warner, Natale, and Govaert have a wealth of leadership qualities to offer to their team culture.
“They know what it takes to compete at this level,” BC head coach Kelly Doton told The Heights after BC’s second game of the weekend. “They have high expectations of how they want their college career to end.”
Warner’s goal in the 44th minute of BC’s matchup with Northwestern proved to be the game winner, and Natale accounted for the other tally.
Fresh Faces Making an Impact
This fall, BC field hockey boasts one of the largest rosters that Doton can remember coaching. Of the 26 rostered players, a whopping 18 of them are returners from last year’s team. Though the continuity from their 2020–21 roster is notable, there are a number of new faces who have stepped in to contribute early on in the season. Milagros Arteta, hailing from Argentina, has accumulated four goals over the Eagles’ first four games, netting two goals each in contests against Quinnipiac earlier this season and Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Cup. Jill Joossens, a freshman from Belgium, has also impressed Doton with her play early on.
“Jill stepped right in,” Doton said of Joossens. “She’s one of our key pieces right now, and not a lot of coaches in the ACC can say that about freshmen.”
Continuity is Key
Last fall, BC was plagued with game cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19 protocols. The Eagles’ season, which normally begins with scrimmages in mid-August, did not start until Oct. 4, and the Eagles managed to fit in only one game before a slate of five contests were postponed. BC did not record a win in its three fall season matches but put together a strong spring season.
In contrast with the fall, the Eagles only had one postponement in a spring season en route to nine wins. If anything, the 2020–21 season put the importance of continuity in perspective for Doton and her squad.
“It was a tough year for them, but I think they’re really happy to be back playing,” Doton said.
Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff